Gorman football looking to get back into win column

Gaels play California’s Servite High in final game against an out-of-state foe before opening league play next week

Players on the Bishop Gorman High football team have a chip on their shoulder.

Last week, the Gaels lost for just the fourth time in the past four seasons, coming up short against Bergen Catholic of New Jersey, 43-35.

They don’t have much time to be disappointed.

The Gaels face another stiff challenge tonight, traveling to Southern California to take on respected Servite High at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cerritos College. Last year, a last-minute field goal lifted Gorman to a win against Servite.

Another close contest is expected this year, giving Gorman (2-1) the perfect opportunity to make amends for last week’s defeat.

“It was a tough one, but we still went out there and played our hardest,” Gorman senior defensive back Justin Sweet said. “Sometimes you just don’t come out on top.”

It’s the Gaels’ fourth straight game to open the season against a nationally respected foe. It’s their last national opponent before opening Southwest League play next week and starting the title defense of the program’s three straight state championships.

Sweet classified the loss as the hardest to take in his three-year varsity career at Gorman, but Gorman coach Tony Sanchez is making sure his players don’t dwell on the past. Whether it was a big win — such as the team's win against top-10 ranked Our Lady of Good Counsel to open the season — or the tough-to-stomach loss of last week, the coach always stresses taking one week at a time.

There were lessons to be learned and mistakes to fix, but losing one game isn’t reason to panic.

When Sanchez looked at the game film early Saturday, he found several positives in the defeat. The Gorman offense, despite being hindered by two interceptions, a lost fumble and a fumble for a significant loss to stop a scoring drive, moved the ball well all night.

“At the end of the day, there are some good things that came from it and some bad things that came from it,” Sanchez said. “We have to sharpen some things up, especially in big games like that. You have to limit the turnovers. Not only turnovers, but costly turnovers, red-zone turnovers that were big momentum changes.”

Defensively, Gorman has surrendered 82 points in its past two games and allowed Bergen Catholic to pass for more than 300 yards. Gorman will have some minor changes with its defensive rotation for the Servite game, using senior tight end Robert Stanley more on the defensive line and running back Tajon Allen at linebacker.

“He does such a good job rushing the passer, we have to give him the opportunity to do that,” Sanchez said of Stanley.

“When you sit and watch the film, it’s the little things we aren’t doing well,” the coach continued.

Sweet, a Division I prospect and the leader of the Gorman defense, said the poor results aren’t because of a lack of effort.

“We are going to continue to come out every play and fight on the field and try not to give up so many points,” Sweet said. “We want a shutout.”

Servite has lost two of its first three games this season and didn’t score last week, but each of its opponents was a high-caliber California school. Like the past three weeks, and surely weeks ahead, it’s another challenge Gorman is ready to embrace.

“The season will play itself out. We’ll take it one game at a time. When it is all said and done, we’ll have won more than we lost,” Sanchez said.